A spatial- and age-structured assessment model to estimate the impact of illegal fishing and ecosystem change on the South African abalone Haliotis midae resource

  • ÉE Plagányi
  • DS Butterworth

Abstract

The management of abalone stocks worldwide is complicated by factors such as illegal fishing combined with the difficulties of assessing a sedentary (but not immobile) resource that is often patchily distributed. The South African abalone Haliotis midae fishery is faced with an additional problem in the form of a relatively recent movement of rock lobsters Jasus lalandii into much of the range of the abalone. The lobsters have heavily reduced sea urchin Parechinus angulosus populations, thereby indirectly negatively impacting juvenile abalone which rely on the urchins for shelter. A model is developed for abalone that is an extension of more standard age-structured assessment models because it explicitly takes spatial effects into account, incorporates the ecosystem change effect described above and estimates the magnitude of substantial illegal (‘poached’) catches. The model is simultaneously fitted to catch per unit effort and Fishery-Independent Abalone Survey abundance data, as well as to several years of catch-at-age (cohort-sliced from catch-at-size) data for the  various components of the fishery and different spatial strata. It constitutes the first quantitative approach applied to the management of this commercially valuable resource in South Africa and has provided a basis for management advice over recent years by projecting abundance trends under alternative future catch levels.

Keywords: abalone, ecosystem change, fisheries management, Haliotis midae, illegal catches, poaching, spatial modelling, stock assessment, TURF

African Journal of Marine Science 2010, 32(2): 207–236

Author Biographies

ÉE Plagányi
Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics, University of Cape Town, Private Bag, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa;  Current address: CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, PO Box 120, Cleveland 4163, Australia
DS Butterworth
Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics, University of Cape Town, Private Bag, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa
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Articles

Journal Identifiers


eISSN: 1814-2338
print ISSN: 1814-232X